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ICO Member: "Other milds" group

Botanical species: Arabica

Bags: 60kg (tare 0,5)

Flowering: from December to February

Harvest: from April to September

Harvesting method: handpicking

Shipment: from August to April

Shipment port: Durban (South Africa)

Production: 20.000 60kg bags

Malawi´s history as a producing country began in 1891, when the first coffee plants were introduced by English colonialists. In approximately 1930, some missionaries brought back seeds from the north of the country where small producers bought them and resold parchment coffee to the same missionaries. The first cooperatives were set up in the 50s with the support of the British government, which began to supply small growers with plants. This is how in 1957 the Misuku Coffee Growers Cooperative Society came into being, exporting coffee via Moshi in Tanzania.

Independence in 1964 brought about the disappearance of cooperatives and left room for ADMARC (Agricultural Development Marketing Corporation), which did however retain much of the profits at the expense of smaller farmers. This led the Ministry of Agriculture to establish the Smallholder Coffee Authority (SCA) in 1971, which was charged with providing services and loans to small landowners in northern Malawi. However, the SCA did not fulfil the expected targets due to several internal conflicts and poor resources´ management. Farmers could only receive 20% of the proceeds of their sales, while the remaining 80% was used to cover the Authority´s expenses. In 1999, after racking up a debt equivalent to $ 100,000, the SCA was privatized and transformed into the Smallholder Coffee Farmers Trust (SCFT). It worked to support small cultivators through development programmes of coffee production and crop diversification, to carry them towards a new system of cooperatives. The introduction of the hybrid variety Catimor instigated the greatest development, with its high resistance and excellent yield in a short space of time. In 2007, after a consultation amid the cultivators, SCFT was transformed into Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union (MZCPCU), a system which integrated the main cooperatives from the different production areas and whereby the cultivators could – for the first time – have their quotas.

Nowadays, Malawi´s production is largely constituted by large tracks of land, cultivated intensively, and only 20% of the total is at the hands of small producers. In addition to Catimor, other cultivars cultivated in Malawi include Gesha, SL28, Agaro and Bourbon. In recent years producers have been incentivized to cultivate the more highly prized Gesha and SL28 varieties, which can yield larger rewards.

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